Are you like most folks who tend to think of salads as a summer “thing”? It’s certainly true we eat them more when the weather is hot, but you’ll be happy to know how easy and satisfying it is to prepare winter salads, even warm winter salads. Combining an assortment of fresh seasonal ingredients makes a winter salad so appealing, and a good fresh salad is always a nice accompaniment to a heavy holiday meal.When building a winter salad, keep in mind the bounty of gorgeous greens and fabulous fresh fruits and veggies that nature naturally provides at this time of year, and remember salads don’t always have to be completely raw. Cooked grains, beans and vegetables tossed with lighter raw fruits and vegetables make interesting, tasty winter salads. Here are some suggestions for “winterizing” your favorite salad:
Add currants, dried cranberries and other dried fruits to salads.
Add roasted pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.
Top with olives and shaved aged cheese.
Toss in grapes, diced apples or pears, and sections of oranges and grapefruits.
Lightly steam or sauté winter veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale and cauliflower to use as a salad base.
Add steamed or roasted root veggies such as beets, rutabaga, parsnips and turnips.
Toss hot cooked whole grains and legumes with raw, grated winter veggies and fruits; eat warm.
Hearty greens such as kale and Swiss chard are delicious in winter salads; they can be marinated for tenderness and greater flavor. Here’s how:
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard
2 TB walnut, olive or grape seed oil
2 TB fresh lemon or lime juice, or favorite vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt
Raw honey, grated fresh ginger, prepared Dijon mustard (optional)
Remove and discard the stems from kale or chard leaves. Wash and slice leaves into small strips; transfer to a large bowl. (It will look like a lot but they shrink when marinating.)
Whisk all remaining salad dressing ingredients together and pour over greens.
Using your hands, massage the greens, kneading and breaking down the fibers to allow the leaves to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
Let the greens sit and marinate before serving.
And here are some wonderful winter salad ideas using fresh, seasonal ingredients:
This is a simple, basic Kale Salad opens in a new tab.
This Butternut Squash and Kale Salad opens in a new tab is gorgeous and delicious for a holiday table.
This Kale Waldorf Salad opens in a new tab is near and dear to my heart! It originated in my kitchen!
This Cabbage Slaw with Gala Apples and Walnuts opens in a new tab is an ideal way to use seasonal ingredients in a tasty salad.
We love this Warm Winter Greens Salad opens in a new tab. It’s fabulous with grilled chicken or turkey sausages.
Apples pair with cheese in this Le Gruyère Salad with Apples and Cider Vinaigrette opens in a new tab.
Broccoli is a cold weather veggie. Here, it’s featured in warm wintery Broccoli Salad with Walnuts and Currants opens in a new tab.
Root veggies make great, sweet additions to hearty winter salads. Try this Roasted Baby Beet and Spinach opens in a new tab salad with hot soup and crusty whole grain bread.
This Endive and Beet Salad with Walnut-Tarragon Vinaigrette opens in a new tab is light yet perfect for the season.
Whole grains make hearty winter salad main dishes. This Chestnut and Wheat Berry Salad opens in a new tab is a great place to start and this Wheat Berry, Apricot and Arugula opens in a new tab salad is simple, hearty and delish.
Avocado and Grapefruit opens in a new tab salad is another winter favorite. If the mood strikes you, use orange sections along with or in place of the grapefruit for a wintery citrus salad.
Do you weather the winter with hearty, seasonal salads? Got a favorite? Let me know!